By Nancy Hokkanen
As legislatures across America debate coercive vaccine mandate bills, pharmaceutical lobbyists and their paid proxies are barraging lawmakers with questionable industry-friendly information. How many more state and federal lawmakers will be manipulated into letting profit-focused corporations set vaccine policy for all citizens, regardless of inability to tolerateinjections with potentially hazardous ingredients?
Pharma-funded vaccine bills have become a litmus test of legislators’ knowledge, priorities and ethics – and a chilling testament to corporations’ metastasizing abuse of civil rights and democratic processes.
- In June 2019, New York’s legislature repealed religious exemptionsto vaccines – without public hearings. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed that bill into law after pressure from vaccine profiteers, incentivized by a promiseto invest $48 million for jobs in Albany.
- In September 2019, California passed SB-276, which forces physicians to file exemption forms with the state’s immunization registry for approval – interfering with doctor/client confidentiality, while adding a layer of biased bureaucracy to intimidate taxpaying citizens.
- Vaccine mandates have created a wave of medical refugees – people who cannot be safely vaccinated are forced to move out of state. Californians are migrating to neighboring Oregon or Idaho to escape laws that paradoxically will harm their health.
If results measure success, then America’s public health policies are failing:
- The U.S. has dropped to 27th worldwide in healthcare and education.
- 54% of children suffer chronic illnesses and disorders, including seizures, tics, ADD/ADHD, autism (1 in 36), OCD, asthma (1 in 10), allergies, anaphylaxis and more.
- U.S. infant mortality ranks worstbehind 20 other affluent nations, as of 2018.
- In public schools, 13% of children receive special educationservices; its high costsare crippling school districts.
- Autism will cost the U.S. $460 billionyearly by 2025.
How many lawmakers would pass oppressive vaccine mandates if they knew that government evidence showed 1 in 39 people suffer health damage from vaccines?
In 2010, the Federal Agency for Health Care Research (AHCR) ran a pilot study “to test the efficiency of a state-of-the-art machine counting (AI) system on data records from the Harvard Pilgrim HMO,” reported the advocacy group Children’s Health Defense:
“Those government researchers found that 2.6% of vaccination resulted in injuries – a ratio of one for every 39 vaccines administered.
“[U.S. Centers for Disease Control] officials were so panicked by AHRC’s revelations that they killed the AI system-wide roll-out.”
The widespread rot of vaccine misinformation is rooted in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, its Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization.
At a Dec. 2, 2019 closed-door meeting, WHO officials admitted alarming limitations in their knowledge of vaccines’ effects. Said Prof. Heidi Larson, Ph.D.: “We need much more investment in safety science,” adding that most doctors receiveonly a half-day of college vaccine education. A number of WHO officials voiced concerns about:
- frequency of adverse reactions,
- adjuvant reactogenicity and cross-reactivity,
- lack of post-vaccination follow-up,
- inadequate database management.
The factual disparity between WHO’s public relations content versus their members’ empirical observations is shockingly clear in a video posted by The HighWire with Del Bigtree. In a Nov. 28, 2019 promo video, WHO’s Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, M.D. confidently announced to the camera:
“Vaccines are very safe. If someone gets sick after vaccine, it is usually either a coincidence, an error in administering the vaccine administration, or very rarely a problem with the vaccine itself. That’s why we have vaccine safety systems – robust safety systems... thoroughly monitored with support from the W.H.O.”
Yet just five days later, in the closed-door WHO meeting, Dr. Swaminathan said the opposite:
“[W]e really don’t have very good safety monitoring communication in many countries... we’re not able to give clear-cut answers when people ask questions about the deaths that have occurred due to a particular vaccine... in most cases there is some obfuscation... and therefore less and less trust in the system.”
Such disturbing revelations of ignorance are amplified when set against the backdrop of a far-away disease outbreak – which, as the CDC frequently states, is just a plane ride away.
Global pharmaceutical companies profit immensely from citizens’ chronic illnesses (many linked to vaccine adverse reactions) while also getting away with:
- substandard study protocols and destroyed data;
- nepotistic and financially conflicted approval committees;
- nonexistent post-vaccination monitoring;
- false claims they have removed mercury from shots, while increasing aluminum;
- bearing no financial liability for vaccine-induced injuries or deaths.
Why the dissonance between public health stakeholders’ PR and the actual health outcomes of the citizens they serve? Canadian philosopher John Ralston Saul asserts that the declining Western society “toils unconsciously in the grip of a stifling ‘corporatist’structure that serves the needs of business managers and technocrats as it promotes the segmentation of society into competing interest groups and ethnic blocks.” That ethos is made manifest in pharma front groups, whose employeessupply human faces to mask corporate avarice.
In 2019, corporations spent $295,165,093 on pharmaceuticals/health products lobbying. The global value of high-stakes biopharmaceutical goods and services is $1.1 trillion total, according to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). Health companies spend $30 billion on medical marketing – yet “regulatory oversight remains limited.”
Pharmaceutical companies fund front groups (e.g. Voices for Vaccines, and PhRMA’s Voters For Cures) that meet with state and federal lawmakers. These nonprofits-for-hire skirt lobbying laws while promoting bills to secure long-term, high-volume vaccine contracts for manufacturers. Front groups push intrusive legislation to remove consumers’ exemptions from vaccines –which increases corporations’ customer base, at the expense of individuals’ health.
Pharma front groups lock in state vaccine mandates by redirecting attention from evidence of vaccine failures, and stoking unreasonable fear of treatable diseases. Group members publicly intimidate vaccine injury victims and “refusers,” encouraging their oppression by portraying them as conspiracy theorists or a threat to public health. (Or both.)
Many front groups are astroturf groups: “fake grassroots,”according to investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson:
“Entities deploy surreptitious methods to make us believe ordinary people in grassroots efforts are speaking to an issue when, in fact, organized, paid corporate and political interests are pulling the strings. It’s cloaked propaganda.”
Adding insult to vaccine injury are front group mouthpieces who sing the praises of regulatory agency capture, increasing the spread of opportunistic medical misinformation from the top down, with a viral global reach.
MEDICAL TRADE UNIONS
PhRMA helps fund the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and their trade publications, the Journal of the American Medical Association(JAMA) and Pediatrics. AMA and AAP’s dues-paying members buy and administer vaccines, publish studies, and lobby state legislatures. Medical trade unions whose members showcasetheir Hippocratic oath conversely promote liability-free vaccines – like pharmaceutical companies, they bear no financial responsibility if their patients’ health is harmed by that product.
A 2016 JAMA study of pediatric adverse drug reactions revealed that in children under five years old who required emergency room admissions, 19.5% had suffered vaccine injuries(Shehab et al., “US Emergency Department Visits for Outpatient Adverse Drug Events.”) Yet AMA and AAP play little proactive role in promoting the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of vaccine adverse reactions. If you are injured by a vaccine, you’re on your own – unless you connect with any of many endlessly growing networks of vaccine injury victims.
Instead of recognizing patients’ medical susceptibility to vaccine adverse reactions, Minnesota’s AAP branch essentially promotes vaccine mandates’ one-size-fits-all medical treatment:
“Public health comes first and foremost. When anti-vaxxers start to talk about personal freedom, remember that state and federal law rightly allows the government to protect the health of the community.”
Everyone has the right to not be injured by a medical intervention – especially one forced upon them by government. Public health policymakers’ “greater good” excuse is chilling in its selective regard for human life, and willingness to coerce fellow humans into health-altering medical interventions by using punitive legal oppressions. Moral philosopher John Bordley Rawls states in A Theory of Justice:
“Each person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override... It does not allow that the sacrifices imposed on a few are outweighed by the larger sum of advantages enjoyed by many… the rights secured by justice are not subject to political bargaining or to the calculus of social interests.”
PHARMA’S PR FRONT GROUPS
The Atlanta-based Task Force for Global Health was founded in 1984 by a former director of the CDC, with the goal of raising childhood vaccination rates globally. This “non-State actor” boasts “powerful partnerships” that include funders such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, CDC and WHO. In 2019 TFGH absorbed the former Brighton Collaboration, a group formed in 1999 to “build trust in the safety of vaccines” – but actually generated fraudulent research intended to erase evidence of vaccine adverse reactions.
Vaccinate Your Family (formerly Every Child By Two) exemplifies profit-first mission creep in its very name change.The group lobbies state legislatures and Congress to create mandates and eliminate exemptions. VYF is funded by vaccine manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Pfizer and Sanofi Pasteur.
The Immunization Action Coalition, based in Minnesota, receives funding via a CDC grant and from pharmaceutical companies. IAC is pushing for more adults to be vaccinated, even tying it to driver’s license eligibility. IAC encouragesmedical clinics to insert standing orders for vaccinations into patient records, through deceptive communications instead of informed consent. IAC executive director Deborah Wexler also serves on other vaccine group boards.
Voices For Vaccines, which lobbies legislatures to eliminate vaccine exemptions, is a funded program of the Task Force for Global Health, which owns the V4V website. A detailed 2014 investigative article features charts detailing ethically conflicted financial relationships amongst the Task Force for Global Health, CDC, Emory University and vaccine manufacturers.
Voices for Vaccines, co-founded by Minnesota mom Karen Ernst, issues inane pronouncements devoid of factual reference, such as these hostile 2014 Tweets:
“Stop using #autism as a reason not to vaccinate.”
“The privilege of living among so many others who vaccinate makes anti-vaxxers feel complacent.”
Ernst is paid to fly across the country attending other states’ legislative hearings, and recording videos of people who oppose forced vaccination. When she herself was asked by Washington State advocates about informed consent, mercury and aluminum toxicity, Ernst’s evasive stumbling and hasty retreat showed that intellectually she is way out of her depth.
“Roundup does not cause cancer. The lawyer in that Roundup lawsuit was RFK Jr, who is a kook. The one study that suggested cancer was retracted. Roundup is one of the least toxic herbicides we have.”
Really, Karen? A judge, jury, and independent glyphosate researchers beg to differ – not to mention that “least toxic” still means “toxic.” Also Ernst fails to consider cumulative body burden over months and years of contaminant consumption, especially in small children.
Ernst is a fan of pioneering vaccine developer Dr. Stanley Plotkin – a man revered or reviled, depending on whether you profited from his experiments, or were victimized by them. Orphans, lacking a caring parent to deny consent, were used byPlotkin for his unethical medical experiments on minors.
Dr. Plotkin is listed as a V4V advisor; Ernst’s request that he testify in a court case ended up backfiring. During a January 11, 2018 deposition of Dr. Plotkin, conducted by New York attorney Aaron Siri, the vaccine researcher was (as reported by columnist Levi Quackenboss):
“forced to admit that over his career he’d tested his vaccines on mentally retarded children, orphans, and babies born to female inmates… Needless to say, the very next morning Dr. Stanley Plotkin withdrew from testifying as an expert witness on vaccines – he no longer felt confident to speak about the safety and necessity of the products that made him a millionaire.”
Ernst shows similar callous disregard for other humans’ vaccine-induced suffering – recklessly indulging her overt schadenfreude with heartless grave-dancing when crashing events to honor vaccine injury victims, living and dead.
MEDIA: REPORTING, OR PR?
Over the past 10 years, mainstream media has usually failed to report factually or fully on vaccine safety issues, or blacks it out entirely. Conspicuous by their absence are consumer-focused investigations into problems with vaccine efficacy, toxicity,contamination, spoilage, and citizens’ civil rights abuses. The problem is journalists’ recent willingness to accept CDC’s PR statements as fact, rather than doing a deep dive, following the money and finding the frauds.
“You’re not going to be able to bridge common ground, unless you have a “common set of facts so that you can at least have a coherent debate.”
If vaccine profiteers’ mythical “mountain of evidence” on vaccine safety is based on fraudulent research, then it’s a mountain of garbage. Vaccine safety advocates defendeveryone’s freedom of speech and right to publish well-referenced information about all medical products – an absolute necessity when honest information is not forthcoming from industry or government.
Pharmaceutical companies spend $6 billion on drug advertising declaring vaccines as safe and necessary – backed up by front groups demanding that anyone refusing the product should face loss of privileges and punitive penalties. These tactics influence mainstream media content, leading to coordinated op-eds strategically planted in advance of legislation and afterward. And with large influential publications bought by billionaires who own vaccine-related businesses, money wins again.
A peculiar media hybrid is emerging: A national network of reporters focusing on state capitol coverage, writing articles for new and traditional forums. One such organization “backed by non-disclosed donors” is States Newsroom, whose “non-profit” Minnesota Reformer hires former writers from the less-than-objective Minneapolis Star Tribune. The noble-sounding but disingenuous mission of the presumptuously named Reformer:
“We’re in the halls of government tracking what elected officials are up to – and monitoring the powerful forces trying to influence them.”
But the MN Reformer turns misinformer with its biased February 9 article:
- pejoratively uses “anti-vaccine” instead of “vaccine safety advocate”;
- polarizes a complex medical issue into a political party-loyalty standoff;
- omits Dr. Robert Jacobson’s ties to vaccine sellers;
- leverages measles fear, but neglects to mention the cases in vaccinated people;
- fails to address biological studies on vaccine adverse reactions, substituting polls and opinions from financial stakeholders;
- omits interviews with victims or parents of vaccine-injured children, to learn the facts of post-vaccination regressions.
With mainstream media’s ad revenues dependent on medical companies, these public-private collaborations can devolve into “news for hire” services that churn copy customized for any agenda… which amounts to public relations. The sad state of the Fourth Estate as described by the Columbia Journalism Review:
“Journalism likes long reads, but right now it needs the money more.”
PHARMA’S “INCENTIVES” FOR LAWMAKERS
Back in 1950, pharmaceutical pioneer George Merck remarked on financial conflicts of interest:
“We try never to forget that medicine is for the people. It is not for the profits.”
In April 2016, Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Gregory Poland, a Merck vaccine developer, gave a PowerPoint presentation to the national lobbying group Women In Government on how to incentivize state legislatures to promote vaccines for adults:
“If a private donor could be identifies who would provide each of you a $1,000,000 ‘grant’ IF you developed legislation and policies that materially improved the health of your states and communities – could/would you do it?”
In 2018 Dr. Alix Casler, a paid Merck spokesperson, spoke at an HPV symposium put on by Maryland Department of Health staff. Dr. Casler encouraged attendees to offer free dinners, wine and sales bonuses to encourage physicians to promote HPV vaccines, such as Merck’s Gardasil.
In November 2019, U.S. Right To Know reported that the CDC’s National Foundation took “nearly $80 million from drug companies and other commercial manufacturers during fiscal years 2014-2018.”
By 2023, global pharmaceutical spending is estimated to reach $1.5 trillion.
CONSUMER ADVOCATES & WATCHDOGS
Greed has corrupted many vaccine manufacturers, government regulatory agencies, media, and even institutions of higher learning into enabling research fraud or facilitating corporation-driven government policies. Worse, that greed has blocked access to truthful information about vaccines’ risks and limitations – but by motivating ethical citizens, that is a solvable problem.
Organized, informed citizens are using their constitutional rights to speak out against corrupt government and industry practices that harm health. Ad hoc watchdog groups alert legislators to corrupt practices by federal agencies, which can infect state policies. The National Vaccine Information Centerand Health Choice are tracking a variety of state vaccine billsthat hold powers that be accountable:
- HAWAII introduced a bill to allow conscientious exemptions for children’s vaccines.
- SOUTH DAKOTAintroduced House Bill 1235 that would prohibit schools from requiring immunizations. HB 1235 states:
“No public or nonpublic post secondary educational institutions may mandate any immunizations for school entry. A public or private post secondary educational institution may request any student to submit medical records. No educational institution may use coercive means to require immunization.”
- MINNESOTAintroduced SF 3110 (known as the ICAN bill, also filed in other states):
“Vaccine minimum safety standards requirement for any vaccine required to enroll or remain enrolled in an elementary or secondary school.”
- IDAHOfiled a bill that would prohibit discrimination based on vaccination status.
Public health policies propelled by the “good intentions” of legislators, state immunization departments, and medical professionals are perversely damaging countless people’s health – and forcing citizens from schools, jobs, homes and communities. American taxpayers cannot allow their legislatures to continue legalizing state vaccine mandates written by irresponsible affiliations of corporate profiteers, which has only proved disastrous to public health.
(Nancy Hokkanen is a Contributing Editor at Age of Autismand a member of the consumer advocacy group Health Choice.)